The governor of Arizona is drawing praise after punishing Nike following reports that the sportswear giant had pulled sneakers celebrating Independence Day out of their stores at the demand of quarterback-turned-activist Colin Kaepernick.
After already shipping a new line of sneakers to stores for a major launch this week, Nike has told retailers to ship them all back, according to The Hill.
Why? Because Kaepernick didn’t like the fact that they had American flags on their heels, according to the Wall Street Journal’s sources. Nike made Kaepernick the face of their ad campaigns back in September following his national anthem protests.
The sneakers, dubbed the Air Max 1 USA, were set to be released on Monday in honor of the Independence Day holiday. The $140 shoes displayed Betsy Ross flags on their heels.
The Betsy Ross flag is an early American flag from the late 1700s. It featured only 13 stars for the original 13 colonies. The flag was the first U.S. banner to look like our modern American flag, according to USHistory.org. But sources familiar with the matter say Kaepernick disapproved of the flag because it was flown during a time when slavery was legal in the U.S.
On Tuesday, Republican Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey told the Arizona Commerce Authority to pull around $2 million in incentives that the Phoenix suburb of Goodyear was offering the company to build a manufacturing plant there, Fox News reported.
“Today was supposed to be a good day in Arizona, with the announcement of a major @Nike investment in Goodyear, AZ,” Ducey tweeted. “And then this news broke yesterday afternoon. Words cannot express my disappointment at this terrible decision. I am embarrassed for Nike.”
“Nike is an iconic American brand and American company. This country, our system of government and free enterprise have allowed them to prosper and flourish,” he continued. “Instead of celebrating American history the week of our nation’s independence, Nike has apparently decided that Betsy Ross is unworthy, and has bowed to the current onslaught of political correctness and historical revisionism.”
He added: “It is a shameful retreat for the company. American businesses should be proud of our country’s history, not abandoning it. Nike has made its decision, and now we’re making ours. I’ve ordered the Arizona Commerce Authority to withdraw all financial incentive dollars under their discretion that the State was providing for the company to locate here.”
“Arizona’s economy is doing just fine without Nike,” he wrote.
“We don’t need to suck up to companies that consciously denigrate our nation’s history.”
“And finally,” he concluded. “it shouldn’t take a controversy over a shoe for our kids to know who Betsy Ross is. A founding mother. Her story should be taught in all American schools. In the meantime, it’s worth googling her.”
Ducey’s decision drew praise as Kaepernick’s alleged role in Nike’s decision continued to draw criticism on Tuesday.
“Completely support this decision Governor @dougducey,” said “The View” co-host Meghan McCain, who is the daughter of the late Arizona senator John McCain.